See our Eye Vitamin Recommendations Below
There are several trusted brands of formulas for macular degeneration. Most are based upon the most recent AREDS2 research published by the United States National Eye Institute. Some are based on the original AREDS research from 2001. Options differ on whether they use these formulas exactly or add additional quantities of the beneficial ingredients, whether they use artificial colors, whether they use natural or synthetic ingredient sources, and whether they the capsules are vegetarian or made from animal gelatin. We only include products from those companies that consistently test accurately by third party laboratories for purity and potency.
For which types of macular degeneration are the eye vitamins helpful?
The National Institutes of Health found that these vitamins were beneficial in cases of intermediate and severe macular degeneration, including both dry and wet forms.
Why is beta-carotene no longer available in most eye vitamins?
Beta-carotene was shown to increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers and formers smokers. It was originally included in eye vitamin formulas for non-smokers, but was found to be less effective than formulas with lutein and zeaxanthin. Thus, most manufacturers removed this from their current formulas.
Which vitamin for do we recommend?
We do not recommend one manufacturer or the other. However, it is our goal to educate consumers about the quality of ingredients and inclusion of proven ingredients that are beneficial in promoting the health of the macula and good vision. Information comparing vitamin and their availability is listed below.
|VisiVite AREDS2 Gold PLUS||50% more lutein and 137% more lutein than AREDS2. Bilberry, Zinc, Grapeseed extract, Alpha Lipoic Acid, L-glutathione, Selenium, Vitamins B6, C and E|
|VisiVite AREDS2 Select||The AREDS2 formula with 40 mg zinc. Naturally-sourced ingredients, including zeaxanthin from paprika. Vegetarian capsules.|
|MaxiVision Ocular Formula||AREDS2 with 25 mg Zinc. “Proprietary blend” of additional ingredients unclear. Vegetarian capsules. Contains fish and soy.|
|Pure Encapsulations Eye Protect Basics||The AREDS2 formula with 25 mg zinc and additional fat-soluble Vitamin C. Vegetarian capsules.|
|Preservision AREDS2||The AREDS2 formula with synthetic Vitamin E and artificial colors. Animal gelatin softgels.|
|EyePromise Restore||Zeaxanthin-rich formula, but with low lutein and zinc that stray too far from AREDS2. Ethyl ester omega 3s not shown to be helpful in AREDS2|
|MacularProtect||The AREDS2 formula with additional Vitamin C. Animal gelatin capsules.|
|Viteyes AREDS2||Economical 90-day supply of AREDS2 with 25 mg Zinc. Animal gelatin capsules. Contains fish.|
|Lipotriad Visionary||Low-priced, low-zinc modified AREDS2. Ethyl ester omega 3s not shown to be helpful in AREDS2. Animal gelatin capsules. Contains fish and soy. 5:1 ratio of Lutein to Zeaxanthin suggestive of non-dietary form of zeaxanthin.|
|Pure Encapsulations Macular Support||Contains 25,000 IU beta-carotene, shown not to be beneficial in AREDS2 and unsafe for smokers. Vegetarian capsules.|
|Preserve Mac Forte||Only 15 mg zinc, which original AREDS showed was most important ingredient for success.|
Macular Degeneration Vitamins Explained
High doses of certain dietary supplements provide the first effective treatment for the leading cause of vision loss among the elderly, a new nationwide clinical study has concluded.
The disease, macular degeneration, destroys the central portion of the retina, the light-gathering cells at the back of the eye. Among people who already have significant yellowish deposits accumulating at the back of their eyes, the hallmark of the disease , the supplements cut their risk of vision loss by one-fifth.
The macular degeneration vitamin supplements — a combination of zinc and the antioxidants vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene — did not appear to slow the early stages of the disease, when the yellowish deposits develop, but that is a normal part of aging and is not necessarily of concern. Almost everyone over age 70 has at least one or two of them. As the disease progresses, the center of the field of view begins to blur, making it difficult to read, drive and recognize faces. Victims must rely on their peripheral vision, looking out of the corners of their eyes and missing much of the color and detail.
Glaucoma and cataracts strike more people than macular degeneration, but effective treatments exist for those diseases. This is the one disease for which there was nothing prior to this. At best, laser surgery can slow down the growth of abnormal blood vessels in the most severe cases of macular degeneration. Earlier studies had indicated that people who eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables, which contain vitamins and beta-carotene, are at lower risk of developing macular degeneration. An earlier, smaller clinical study had suggested zinc might be helpful.
Among those whose disease had progressed to the intermediate stage, the zinc supplements reduced by 11 percent the risk of the disease progressing to the advanced stage, and the antioxidants reduced the risk by 10 percent. When the two were combined, the risk dropped by 19 percent. The study followed the participants for 6.5 years on average. The daily dosages of the antioxidants used in the study were 500 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E and 15 milligrams of beta-carotene, a molecule that provides the color of carrots and sweet potatoes. The body converts the beta-carotene into vitamin A.
AREDS 2 showed that 80 mg zinc and 25 mg zinc daily worked similarly. Copper is added in order to prevent the high levels of zinc from causing a deficiency of copper in the body, which can lead to anemia. Those amounts are well above the usual levels recommended by the Food and Drug Administration.
Will taking vitamins prevent macular degeneration?
In the absence of any macular degeneration, there is no research published that shows that taking vitamins can prevent macular degeneration. However, the AREDS study did show, if there was disease in only one eye, that taking proper vitamin supplements prevented or slowed the progress of the disease in the opposite eye. Furthermore, there is now research to support to preventative effects of adding Omega-3 Fatty Acids to people with healthy eyes to reduce their chances of developing age-related macular degeneration.